Wikileaks 'hacked' by OurMine

Notorious whistleblowing site Wikileaks drew the attention of the cyber security community this week, as the organisation fell victim to an apparent hack.

Visitors to the Wikileaks homepage were greeted with a message from security company OurMine, proclaiming that it had hacked WikiLeaks in response to a challenge supposedly issued by the organisation.

"Hi, it's OurMine," the message read. "Don't worry we are just testing your... blablablab [sic], Oh wait, this is not a security test! Wikileaks, remember when you challenged us to hack you?"

The same statement also taunted cyber vigilante group Anonymous, indicating that this hack was partly in revenge for an incident in which Anonymous allegedly attempted to dox the group for attacking Wikileaks, which has been accused of being a front for Russian intelligence. "There we go" the message read. "One group beat you all!"

However, it quickly emerged that OurMine had not actually broken into Wikileaks' servers at all. Instead, the group used a tactic known as 'DNS poisoning', whereby an attacker gains control of the DNS server that controls how traffic is routed to an IP address, and redirects it to a location of their choosing, in this case, a page hosted on OurMine's own server.

The attack has now apparently been thwarted, and the Wikileaks site appears to be fully operational once again.

The statement left by the group echoed the message it commonly left on the social media accounts of its other victims, which usually state that the group is "just testing [the victim's] security". These victims include various high-profile companies and individuals, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and, most recently, Game Of Thrones creators HBO.

These hacks are apparently operated as promotional stunts for the group's cyber security consultancy and penetration testing business, with victims advised to contact the group if they wish to improve their security.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.